CoolerMaster Silencio 352 Review
Published: 20th September 2013 | Source: CoolerMaster | Price: £59.80 |
We'd like to recommend that you never play cards with the Silencio 352. A case which on the face of it appears to be little more than a small black enclosure has more than a few aces up its sleeve. We've now looked at three of the cases in the current Silencio range it's fair to say we've been most impressed with this pluck little number.
Let’s start with the build quality, no surprises there. It might be a downsized case but in no way have CoolerMaster down sized their quality standards, with both build quality and finish being excellent as we would expect from CoolerMaster.
Although diminutive in stature the 352 is still bale to accept tower coolers up to 155mm in height and GPUs up to 355mm long, which should be plenty for even for those rocking a 310mm long old school 5970 with a little left over for plugs and cables.
Aside from being able to house 3x3.5" drives along with separate stealth locations for up to 4 hidden 2.5 drives the main ace up the sleeve of the 352 is the native water cooling support. And we don't just mean a token 120mm AIO in the rear, oh no, this little chap can take a 240mm rad in the front, and not only the slim 240mm AIOs such as the CoolerMaster Eisberg or Seidon, or for that matter the Corsair H100i, oh no, we mean any standard 240mm rad up to a thickness of 35mm and that means such rads as the XSPC RS240, the Swiftech MCR220XP and the Hardware labs Black Ice GT Stealth. To do this you will have to sacrifice the 3.5" bay slung under the 5.25" bay, and you will have to move the 3.5" rack posteriorly to the alternate set of mounting holes but the real point is you get to keep your internal storage. If you don't mind losing the internal storage you could always just use internal 2.5" SSDs and external HDD caddy, then you'll be able to plonk in an even thicker rad, we think 60mm is on the cards but you will get close to losing the lower of the cable management holes.
On the subject of cable management things are a bit of a mixed bag. There's plenty of holes to pass cables from front to rear and vice versa, but none are grommeted. The 14 cable management holes round the back are well distributed and should make the life of the system builder an easy one, however there's not a lot of room to play with back there with just 8mm of space even accounting for the slight bulge in the case side we still had a great deal of trouble getting the case side on. Although a less tidy option it might just make sense to keep the thicker of the cables in the front side of the case.
If the 352 has another ace up its sleeve it is that, like its bigger brothers it is fully sound dampened. Both side panels and the door are coated with sound dampening foam, with a magnetically attached roof vent panel allowing you to choose between sonic isolation or greater cooling performance. In use the 352 is as silent as the award winning Silencio 650 series and didn't really get noticeably louder when we removed the roof panel.
All of this lot will set you back just £60 and that we think is damn good value. However there are other options out there, the Fractal Design Arc Mini for example is a slightly bigger case which also boasts native water cooling support. It also costs a fiver more and doesn't have the sound dampening characteristics of the 352. There is of course the Define mini which does have sound dampening but this will set you back nearly £80 and lacks much of the native water-cooling support offered here. We can't of course ignore the BitFenix Prodigy. Coming in at around the same price it's a fine case in its own right, but if you're trying to choose between the 352 and the Prodigy you clearly need to spend a bit more time working out exactly what you want from your system.
Hand on heart we have to say we're rather taken with this little case and have no problem at all award it our top honour in addition to the coveted "silence" award for its low sonic foot print.